COVID-19 Principles To Highlight City Council Meeting
Agenda Item (5.1) brought forth by the City Managers office will address a number of key issues regarding the current economic crisis and the city budget. The report details how Irvine revenue is expected to decrease by up to $22 million dollars through the end of June due to the COVID-19 crisis. That income will likely continue to be suppressed for the next couple of fiscal years. Pension premiums via CalPERS alone may increase by as much as $12 million annually for the foreseeable future.
In response, the staff recommendation is for the Council to approve a set of “Response Principles” to the COVID-19 crisis. Those three principles are:
- Continue providing essential services, and continue to place a priority on housing production.
- No layoffs or reductions in work hours or pay for existing City employees.
- Hire 23 additional City employees, including 14 first responders, but otherwise freeze hiring and “non-essential” expenses such as employee training. All third party contracts will be reviewed for saving opportunities as well.
Given that the report outlines that as of April 22, at least 97 businesses have closed and more than 9,000 employees have been laid off in Irvine, it will be interesting to see if the Council approves these principles as written. While there are sizable reserves of $50 – $113 million dollars at the city’s disposal, hopefully Irvine can minimize the need to access these rainy day funds.
In addition, staff seeks the Council’s input on proposed postponements or cancellations of community events through the end of June. The list includes everything from the Super Pet Adoption to modifying the Memorial Day events.
Staff also suggests delaying until further notice all non-essential General Fund capital improvement projects, such as the construction of the Great Park Administration building, the Civic Center expansion, and updates to the Animal Care Center.
There will no doubt be a lot of important decisions made tomorrow in a very fluid environment. It will be worth watching the meeting to hear the latest updates on the data, as well as how our officials act in a time of daily change.